Maybe it is just that time of year. Maybe the cold weather has people feeling more protective or empathetic to their neighbors needs.  Maybe people in Idaho are just good people. Or perhaps a little of all these things.  Whatever is going on, we have a lot to be thankful for this new year, and kind gestures are springing up all over.

At Brundage we asked a lady to take our picture. Not only did she take a series of photos while we made dorky faces, her husband scraped our windshield while we posed.  Down at Paul’s market in McCall while scanning the vast selection of mouthwatering micros, the beer distributor rolls up and strikes up a conversation.  After a few moments he says “Well it’s your lucky day; you can’t lose.”  He pulls a quarter out of his apron, “Call it in the air, and if you’re right, I buy you a case of beer.” Ben calls heads, and the next thing you know our new friend is throwing down a $20 bill on the counter at the checkout register.

New Years eve arrives, and one of our friends realizes she’s lost her wallet.  After retracing her steps in the middle of the night in the snow, her and her boyfriend arrive home – exhausted.  Fifteen minutes later there is a short rap at the door.  Two men are there.  They have found her wallet and brought it all the way to her house.  By that time it was 4 in the morning.

Even ignoring the obvious displays of good citizenship we have experienced in the last two weeks, there is just a feel to the people here.  A sense that you aren’t just walking along in your own life, but are sharing it with others.  It reminds me of a scene from a movie I watched recently called Waking Life.

“I know we haven’t met, but I don’t want to be an ant. You know? I mean, it’s like we go through life with our antennas bouncing off one another, continuously on ant autopilot, with nothing really human required of us. Stop. Go. Walk here. Drive there. All action basically for survival. All communication simply to keep this ant colony buzzing along in an efficient, polite manner. “Here’s your change.” “Paper or plastic?’ “Credit or debit?” “You want ketchup with that?” I don’t want a straw. I want real human moments. I want to see you. I want you to see me. I don’t want to give that up. I don’t want to be ant, you know?”

Maybe that’s a good thing to think about for a last minute New Years resolution. Maybe we can borrow some courage from the guys who returned the wallet. Or borrow some easy going helpfulness from the guy who scraped our windshield.

Maybe this year, we wont be ants.